Business Owners’ Sabbatical: Time for a Business Change

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Business Owners' SabbaticalIt’s been a while since I’ve written an email or a blog post, or even done a video.

I was on a business sabbatical.

I was taking some time, and didn’t want to rush on it.

My typical entrepreneur self-rushes into a new decision or a new idea and immediately and I hit the ground running. Even as a natural planner, I had a tendency to jump right in with excitement and that pure adrenaline rush that comes with new business ideas.

However I started the year, being burnt out, tired, and just plain exhausted.

I was ready to go get a regular 9 to 5 job, where everybody else had to worry about the strategy, the marketing, the management and everything else!

Instead, from the very wise counsel of one of my mentors, I took time off. (As much as a business owner can take time off.)

I did the absolute minimum to keep my business going – working with clients, writing paid articles was about the extent of my working.

Other than that, I was a mom, a wife, did a bunch of mediating, working out – and just thinking about my business and where it was gonna go.

I learned a lot – which is actually an understatement that I simply can’t put any other way.

I dug into what my business meant to me, and where I wanted it to go. I considered how I had gotten to where I was – and if I was really on the right track.

I learned one of the hardest things in business is, that the longer you’re in business, the easier it is to get sidetracked.

You might think that that would be odd, because you’ve been in business. You’re on the right path – you’re making progress.

But we all evolve, we all change. Our businesses grow, society grows.

And sometimes things get out of line.

So you need a sabbatical. Get in touch with who you are, who the business is, who the world is – today and not back when you started the business.

What did I learn?

I learned while I was doing something I loved and was passionate about, I wasn’t exactly on target.

I wasn’t truly using my skills to the utmost that I could, in a way that I enjoyed.

Once I figured out exactly what the target was, it took more time to figure out how the changes were going to take place.

I did some more research, lots of education, and more meditating and thinking about it.

As I continued to learn about me and my business, and the direction we were headed, things became easier. It was right. Instead of being caught up in the grindstone writing one more blog post, or filming one more video on a topic that just didn’t feel right – I had time to refocus on what was the right thing to do and what was a natural fit.

Things that were easier to accomplish while being on a sabbatical.

So, what was right and what was natural?

Well Smart Step, Inc. is adding business consulting, with the focus on micro business owners. This focus will be run from a new site: Smart Step Business Advisors.

More specifically that division will work with small business owners with 20 people or less, who are focused not on being the next big tech startup, are focused on providing a better life for their families.

Everything they do is for their families. They want the business to grow, they want it to be strong. They enjoy making money. But running the business is all for a bigger reason – to provide for their families.

You can learn more about the approach by heading over to the new site and checking out the new business growth pyramid I created. Micro business growth pyramid.

At the same time, because these are micro family focused businesses, the end point is ultimately financial freedom.

So while expanding into business consulting, because business is really what I love and what I am passionate about – it’s still about the finances. It’s still about taking money out of the business, and putting it into another asset class so that your future is not tied up in one thing.

So you can get to the point where you’re done, you’re burnt out, you take your sabbatical – and you decide you’re done, that you have the money to go do what you want. No matter what that is – to start another business, to explore the world, to enjoy the grand kids.

Even though you might think that’s a really long time away, it will be here sooner than you think and preparing now gives you more options down the road.

Because of this Take A Smart Step will still be personal finance but with an emphasis on investing and specializing on the small business owner.

No more trying to figure out what you need from generic advice for non-business owners. This site will help you keep more of your profits and grow them in other areas outside your business.

Ready for your own business reboot?

Here are some tips to help you decide what is the right direction for your business.

  • Clear your schedule of any unnecessary work.  I know this is hard, but it is the only way to free up time so that you can have the mental space to work.  If you simply cannot find anything to cut back on then create a list of tasks that you can begin to delegate to free up some time.  Part of your exhaustion may be due to overwork.
  • Schedule a retreat.  Taking time away from work and everyday life can allow you focused clarity time.  This is not a family vacation or work trip, but time to focus on you.  I have done two big work retreats and always come away refocused and clear.  Try and pick a place surrounded by nature, as the peacefulness and calm can bring about positive impacts.
  • Focus on health.  You may wonder why this is helpful with your business decisions, but it has more connection than you may think!  First, when you take care of your body it increases energy so you have more stamina to run a business.  Second, when you are doing things like working out it clears your mind of all the little distractions in life.  It reduces stress and increases your happy hormones.
  • Meditate – the power of silence is amazing.  When you let your brain relax and stop thinking it can begin to process what is in the subconscious and will clear the  way for your truth to come out.  It can be hard to start, but it is worth every minute.  If you need start with guided meditations (Affiliate Link) or a walking meditation.
  • Journal – this does not have to be anything specific, just start writing.  Let your subconscious flow out on to the paper.  I am amazed by how refreshing and insightful writing a journal can be.
  • Develop a life plan.  Often our business is not what we want it to be because it is not in line with what we want from life.  Therefore we need to get focused on what we do want from life.  What do you value?  Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years?  What legacy do you want to leave?
  • Read Non-fiction. Reading will open your mind to new ideas that you may not have thought of before.  If nothing else you can learn a new skill.
  • Talk to someone – it is hard to make tough decisions all by yourself.  You might be overlooking the obvious but are just too close to see it.  This has happened to me many times.  If you don’t have a friend to talk with consider hiring a coach or starting a mastermind.

Ultimately remember to care for yourself and don’t rush every decision.  The right one will come at the right time if you stop and listen.

Need help determining what you want to do with your business and life?  I can help you explore and guide the way with one on one coaching.   Check out my Business Owners Sabbatical Journey coaching program.